Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Long Time Coming: The Book(s) Review: Part One

There may be a lot to read through here, but so many of them are so good!

The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
We saw the movie shortly after it came out on DVD and I find that I often want to read the book version of a good movie. I expected these stories (for there are actually five full novels and one short story in this collection) to be more childish and turned for a younger audience, yet I found that the humor quite often wasn't necessarily appropriate for kids.
That said, it was well-written, extremely creative and laugh-out-loud funny. I couldn't stop with just one of the stories, but had to keep reading until I had finished the whole collection. The characters were easy to relate to, even when they were aliens. These stories were utterly ridiculous and unendingly inventive. I'd very likely read through this again.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon

One of my favorite non-fiction authors is Lauren Winner. I've read every book she's ever written and many of those more than once. She has admitted that the Midford series was one of the steps that brought her to Christianity and she herself finds this funny. It's not intellectual or deep and fraught with hidden meaning. It's just a lovely story of an Episcopal minister and the flock he shepherds. The life and love of a small community.

The book reads easily and quickly. You can see yourself friends with many of the characters and interested in their daily pursuits. I found myself wanting to plant some of the flowers that the main character was putting into his garden. Plus, I liked that it wasn't too short. I enjoy a book I can read through in an afternoon, but those can also be more forgetful as I haven't spent much time with them.

Poland by James A. Michener

Speaking of a long book...A Michener novel never fails to take me several weeks to finish. The first book of his that I ever picked up was The Source and ever since I have been happily hooked. He follows a few families through decades (and sometimes centuries or more) and traces history through monumental events that you may never have realized were so pivotal.

Every time I finish one of his stories, I search for more information. I want to know more about the histories I just read and I find myself almost wanting to go back to school to study. He finds a way to weave a tale through so many events, so many years and so many people that you could easily be overwhelmed, but you're not. You're just trapped inside the context and folklore and passions and tragedy. And you're very happy to stay there.

Poland did not disappoint. I learned more about Eastern Europe and the lives of the nobility and peasants in a manner that didn't feel like a lecture, but like an epic journey through the past. If this part of history doesn't interest you, there's always Hawaii, one of my other favorites by Mr. M. Next on my list from him: The Covenant, Caribbean and Mexico.

Third Class Superhero by Charles Yu

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Blindness by Jose Saramago

I loved this book--it was so interesting and different. The premise is that a man driving down the road is suddenly and inexplicably stricken with blindness. And then it becomes contagious. An uncontrollable epidemic. You can imagine the fear and terror that spread and the resulting governmental insanity. The story progresses in a horrid downward spiral as all those infected are rounded up and kept together in an abandonded asylum. No one to help them, food drops thrown in once a day, riots breaking out amongst the blind.

This was one of those books so well-written that you find yourself thinking it's really happening. When you put it down, you wonder if you'll catch the disease. It's intellectual and thought-provoking, not letting you just absorb the story, but forcing you to think it through. The sequal is Seeing and I'm anxious to pick it up.

The Dark Tower Trilogy by Stephen King

Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski

Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

This is one that I believe I should have read back in high school sometime, but didn't. It's a classic and well-known by many. While I'm not given for conspiracy theories, I did enjoy the writing style and flow of this book. Plus, I always like a futuristic sci-fi story and this delivers such an interesting view of a possible future without books I was engrossed. A world without literature seems so highly unlikely to me. Especially with the advent of blogs and the new type of author that is being developed through this genre, readers are open to more and embracing the written word like never before.

Hubby and I discussed the novel after I read it as he was a fan of Bradbury years ago. It seems that our generation (and a few around us) is prone to questioning everything. To not be content with the information we are given and to want a better explanation for why. A few generations before us, one didn't discuss unpleasant or embarrassing situations, whereas now pretty much everything is open for debate and dissection. What will future generations bring? With texting the main form of communication for today's teen, does real discussion also happen face to face? I have found a couple excellent teen blogs, both well-written and thoughful. It's just so interesting to wonder what the future will truly look like. I'm still holding out for my flying car.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

I'm not even going to attempt to write a review of this book. Heather Anne did it better than I ever could. It arrived in my mailbox (presumably by Owl) Saturday morning and I finished it by Saturday evening. I can't wait to read it again.

No comments: